Kitchener-Waterloo

Waterloo Int'l Airport was Canada's busiest in November, says StatsCan

The Region of Waterloo International Airport was the busiest airport in Canada with more than 13,500 departures and landing making their way through the facility in November 2020.

Flight training was biggest contributor to airport's 13,619 take-off and landings in November 2020

The Region of Waterloo International Airport was Canada's busiest airport in November 2020. General manager, Chris Wood, said flight training was a big contributing factor to the airport's 13,619 take-offs and landings that month. (Carmen Groleau/CBC )

The Region of Waterloo International Airport claims top spot as Canada's busiest airport in November 2020 with more than 13,500 departures and landings taking place that month, according to a recent survey by Statistics Canada.

The biggest contributing factor? Flight training, says Chris Wood, general manager for the airport.

"We have a very busy airplane and helicopter flight training [schedule]," he told CBC, explaining the Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre often uses the runways for their training programs.

"Conestoga College and the University of Waterloo both have flying programs through the flight centre." 

This is the first time the airport claimed top spot in takeoffs since records keeping began in 1960, according to Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada said 10 Canadian airports accounted for roughly one-third of all aircraft movement in the country last November. Waterloo region's airport saw a total of 13,619 take-offs and landings that month.

Wood said over 90 per cent of those were flight training take-off and landings, with some corporate movement, cargo and air ambulance flights.

"We've always been that busy, but the other airports are obviously less busy," he said.

"On a normal day, Pearson would have way more movement than we do, but because of the pandemic and slow down of air traffic, flight training airports have become the busiest airports in the country."

Statistic Canada says air traffic in November remained well below pre-pandemic levels.

"The trifecta of a resurgence of cases of COVID-19, ongoing border restrictions, and a lack of consumer demand contributed to holding total aircraft movements at Canada's major airports at roughly three-quarters of the level reported the year before," said the agency.

The survey by Statistics Canada collected data on itinerant and local aircraft movements at major airports in Canada. Those include all airports with either a NAVCANADA air traffic control tower or a NAVCANADA flight service station.

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